Susanna’s long journey back to world class status ended in the first round the 100 meter hurdles. In her same spikes from 2008, with her name on them, Susanna Kallur has some decisions to make. Here is how Jonas Hedman saw one of the most enduring athletes in Sweden, a country with a huge athletic tradition. Why has RunBlogRun been posting stories on athletes from all over the world, but now, Scandinavia? We want our readers to appreciate that not each country has the same traditions and athletic strengths. I find that fascinating, and is one of the reasons I publish runblogrun.
The Olympic Comeback Ended in Tears for Susanna Kallur
The fifth day of the Olympics in Rio was special from a Swedish point of view since it was the first race in eight years in the biggest of meets for 100m hurdler Susanna Kallur. After her World indoor record at 60m hurdles in 2008 she fell on the first hurdle in the semifinal in the Beijing Olympics six months later.
Then eight years of a complicated injury in her lower right leg followed but despite several surgeries she refused to give up. Since 2012, when she missed the London Olympics, she’s been talking about Rio and became almost a national hero when she finally got injury free in November 2015. During the time she was injured a TV documentary was produced about her life and she got new sponsors despite not competing for several years. That says something about how popular she is in Sweden. In June 2016, she raced at 100m hurdles for the first time in six years and clocked 13.00 at Stockholm Diamond League.
Same shoes as in Beijing 2008
Susanna raced three more times before Rio and came to Brazil with a season best of 12.91, a time she was determined to beat in the heat. She used the same yellow and blue spikes with her name on as she did in the two races in Beijing eight years earlier, spikes that had only been used for eleven hurdles … Susanna stored them in a wardrobe for all those years and before the race said that “The shoes also wanted revenge for 2008”.
After a good start she was second halfway but then the lack of training showed and she finished fifth in 13.04 – 0.05 from advancement.
“It’s great being back on this level and competing in the Olympics after so many years, but I have mixed feelings since I was definitely hoping for more than this. But most of all I am overwhelmed just to be here”, said Susanna while she couldn’t hold back the tears.
Twin sister commentated in TV
During her prime time until 2008 Susanna raced many times together with her twin sister Jenny and one of their best moments was the European indoor championships in Madrid 2005 when they took gold and silver. And Jenny was with her this time too. Not on the track, since she retired five years ago, but on the media tribune as a commentator for the Swedish TV. No one could explain Susanna’s long journey, her final preparations and evaluate her race better than Jenny.
Everything comes to an end
One race, 13 seconds, and then everything was over. So many years of fighting against injuries to fullfill the dream of a third Olympics and suddenly the journey had came to an end. Susanna reached semifinal in her Olympic debut in Athens 2004 when setting a personal best of 12.67. Then the Beijing Games four years later which also included a build up disturbed by injuries, and finally, at age 35, she was able to race a third time in the finest meet of them all.
And now what?
Asked about the future right after the race, Susanna said that she will finish the season which includes the Swedish championships 26-28 August and the national match against Finland and maybe another meet. If she will continue for another year with the World championships in London in sight time will tell.